Classical Music in New Orleans

Discover all that New Orleans has to offer in classical music. From world-renowned symphonies to local opera companies, there is something for everyone to enjoy.


New Orleans is a city with a rich history and culture, and this is reflected in its music. The city has been a melting pot of musical styles from around the world, and its unique blend of musical influences is what makes its music scene so special. Classical music is just one of the many genres of music that can be heard in New Orleans.


New Orleans has been a hub of classical music since the 18th century when it was still a colony of France. The city is home to many famous classical music venues, including the French Opera House, which was built in 1859 and is one of the oldest operatic venues in the United States.

The French Opera House was originally built for the performance of French opera, but it also played host to many other types of classical music. In the early 20th century, the opera house was home to the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra (now the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra), which gave its first concert in 1911. Today, the opera house is used for a variety of events, including concerts, ballets, and plays.

The French Quarter is also home to many other classical music venues, including The National WWII Museum and The Historic New Orleans Collection.


Since the early 1700s, when New Orleans was founded by the French, classical music has been an important part of the city’s culture. However, it was not until the late 1800s that the genre began to truly thrive in the city. This was due in large part to the influence of Spanish immigrants, who brought with them a rich tradition of classical music.

The Spanish first arrived in New Orleans in 1762, when the city was under French control. They came as soldiers, musicians, and artists, and many of them settled permanently in the city. They quickly made their mark on the local culture, introducing new musical styles and instruments to the already-existing French musical traditions. One of the most significant Spanish contributions to New Orleans classical music was the introduction of opera.

Opera was extremely popular in Spain during the 18th and 19th centuries, and it quickly caught on with New Orleans audiences as well. The city’s first opera house, The Orpheum, opened in 1859, and soon became one of the most popular entertainment venues in town. Many of the city’s most famous opera singers emerged during this period, including Maria Garcia-Lorca and Carmen Melendez-Pena.

Today, New Orleans is home to a thriving classical music scene, thanks in large part to the influence of Spanish immigrants over 150 years ago. If you’re interested in exploring this fascinating genre, be sure to check out some of the city’s top classical music venues, such as The Orpheum or The Mahalia Jackson Theater.

The Birth of Jazz

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States. It emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as “America’s classical music”.

Congo Square

In Congo Square, located in New Orleans, Louisiana, jazz was born. Congo Square was a gathering place where slaves and free blacks could congregate and socialize on Sundays. It was here that they would sing, dance, and play music, which was a fundamental part of their culture. The music played in Congo Square was a mix of African and European influences. The African influence is evident in the polyrhythms and call-and-response patterns. The European influence is seen in the use of harmonic structure and instruments such as the violin and clarinet. This mix of cultures created a new type of music that would come to be known as jazz.


Storyville was the red-light district of New Orleans, Louisiana, from 1898 to 1917. It was established by municipal ordinance under the Lafitte administration (1896–1902) and named for Alderman Sidney Story, who wrote the ordinance. It was located in the uptown portion of the city, including the present-day French Quarter and Faubourg Tremé neighborhoods.

The district was famous for its abundance of brothels, gambling dens, and bars. It was also a birthplace of jazz. Storyville was closed down in 1917 in an effort to improve the city’s image before the 1920 National convention of the Democratic Party.

The area that became Storyville was originally developed by Benjamin Butler during the Union occupation (1862–1865) of New Orleans as a “Contraband Camp” for runaway slaves and free people of color who had escaped from southern plantations. When Butler closed down his operation, many of these people moved into the nearby area now known as Tremé.

The Preservation of Jazz

In a city known for its music, it’s no surprise that classical music is also alive and well in New Orleans. The New Orleans Symphony is one of the many orchestras that call the city home, and they are known for their excellent performances. The symphony is just one of the ways that classical music is preserved in New Orleans.

The Preservation Hall

The Preservation Hall is a music venue in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra Jaffe. The hall is dedicated to the preservation of traditional New Orleans Jazz. The building which houses it was built in 1750 as a private dwelling, and later converted into an art gallery and then a storage space for musical instruments. In its current incarnation, the hall is a performance space, as well as a house band which plays there nightly. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is one of the most well-known and respected traditional jazz bands in the world.

The Jazz & Heritage Festival

Jazz & Heritage Festival is an annual celebration of the music and culture of New Orleans. The festival was founded in 1970 by George Wein, producer of the Newport Folk Festival, and later the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The festival is held over two weekends in April, with the majority of the musical performances taking place on the first weekend.

Over the years, the Jazz & Heritage Festival has become one of the most popular music festivals in the country, drawing visitors from all over the world. The festival features a wide range of musical styles, from traditional jazz and blues to contemporary R&B and hip-hop. In addition to the music, there are also food vendors, craftsmen, and other attractions.

The Rebirth of Jazz

In the early 20th century, New Orleans was at the forefront of a musical renaissance. The city’s vibrant and eclectic culture gave birth to a new form of music: jazz. Jazz quickly spread from New Orleans to the rest of the country and the world. Today, jazz is enjoyed by millions of people.

The Rebirth Brass Band

The Rebirth Brass Band is a New Orleans brass band. The group was founded in 1982 by Philip Frazier, Kermit Ruffins and Keith Frazier. The band has been credited with helping to spread the popularity of brass bands in New Orleans and around the world.

Rebirth has performed for audiences around the globe, including at the White House, the Olympics, and at Jazz Fest in New Orleans. They have appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and on PBS’s Austin City Limits.

The band’s sound is a unique mix of traditional New Orleans brass band music and contemporary funk and hip-hop. Their music has been featured in film and television, including Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, Treme and 21 Jump Street.

The Youngblood Brass Band

Formed in 1992, the Youngblood Brass Band is a five-piece band from New Orleans, Louisiana. The band is known for its unique sound, which combines elements of jazz, funk, hip-hop, and rock.

The band has released eight studio albums and three live albums. Their most recent album, “Welcome to the Party,” was released in 2018.

The band has toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe. They have performed at some of the most prestigious festivals, including the Montreux Jazz Festival and the North Sea Jazz Festival.

The band members are:

· Andrew McNees – trumpet
· Sam Shoup – trombone
· John Redman – saxophone
· Francisfarello Ross III – bass
· Ross Markowitz – drums

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